In an 11-game span, starting Dec. 19 in Toronto, the Kings went 36-for-36 on the penalty kill. In their last six games, they are 16-for-23, and have allowed at least one power-play goal in each game. The change roughly coincides with Darryl Sutter’s decision to expand the penalty-kill unit, rather than give all the ice time to the same eight players. That strategy, designed to keep players fresher for 5-on-5 play, is understandable, and one could make the argument that it has worked. Over the last six games, the Kings have outscored opponents 8-6 in 5-on-5 play, but the increased number of power-play goals allowed has narrowed the overall margin for error. Asked today about the dip in penalty-kill percentage, Sutter said he didn’t attribute it to any one aspect.
SUTTER: “When are you are good for so long, that means you are good. It’s not just for (one stretch of games) and then something’s wrong with it. It means you’re good. We’re still (No.) 4 or 5 in the league. We’ve got caught with broken sticks a little bit. We got caught not clearing pucks a little bit. We got caught, more, that there is a hockey god and we’ve taken two bad change penalties that cost us with goals against. We’ve taken retaliation penalties that have cost us goals against. That’s probably where it is. We haven’t changed the structure, some big change in that. We’ve tried to use more goals on it, but quite honestly, some guys that we use to kill penalties have been the guys in the penalty box.’’